PHEAA Hosts Free Financial Aid Webinar to Save on College

As part of America Saves Week, celebrated nationally February 27 – March 3, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is partnering with the Pennsylvania Treasury Department (Treasury) to host a free financial aid webinar geared toward helping students and families plan for the cost of college.

The webinar, scheduled for March 1, from 12-12:30PM, will focus on the benefits of PA 529 plans and other ways to fund college. They will also discuss using PA Forward Loans, Pennsylvania’s best state-based private student loan option, to cover gaps in funding.

“Sixty percent of Americans have less than $500 in savings that can be used in the event of an unexpected emergency – let alone to help them pay the cost of college,” said Senator Wayne Fontana, Acting Chairman of the PHEAA Board of Directors. “We must continue to inform individuals and families about strategies that provide practical and effective ways to support future college expenses.”

The PA 529 College & Career Savings Program is an excellent way to save for college, as it offers both tax advantages and future financial benefits. Not only are contributions deductible from state income tax, but the assets held in the plan are not counted when determining eligibility for state financial aid for college.

“PA 529 accounts are a great way for families to save for education opportunities with big tax benefits, and they can be used to pay for far more than just four-year degrees,” said Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity. “They can help cover the costs of community college, technical training, and apprenticeship programs – which is great, because we have a tremendous need for highly skilled workers here in Pennsylvania. I want to make sure everyone knows that PA 529 accounts are a great way to save for education – no matter what your future career might be. And they’re now more accessible than ever to families, with no minimum deposit required to open an account and the ability to make contributions as low as one dollar at any time.”

If after applying savings, as well as free money options like grants and scholarships, families find that a gap still exists in their college funding plans, the state-based PA Forward Student Loan Program is a great option.  PA Forward provides loans for undergraduate, graduate students and parent borrowers. PA Forward Student Loans will cover 100% of a student’s remaining costs, after all other aid is considered.

PHEAA is the lender and servicer for the program, with a line of credit provided by Treasury and tax-exempt allocation from the PA Department of Economic Development (DCED). PA Forward is available to Pennsylvania residents attending an approved school in or out of the Commonwealth, or a student from an approved state (DE, MD, NJ, NY, OH, VA, and WV) attending an approved Pennsylvania school.

“We always tell families to look for free money first, before looking to student loans,” said James Steeley, PHEAA President & CEO.  “But we know that for many families, student loans are necessary, which is why we created the PA Forward Loan Program.  By combining state resources, we are able to provide Pennsylvania students and families with a better option to cover any gaps in funding.”

Families can register to attend the free webinar at

  • America Saves Week: PA Forward Student Loans and Financial Aid with PHEAA
    This financial aid webinar will be moderated by both PHEAA and the PA Treasury Department. The webinar will focus on the benefits of PA 529 plans and other ways to fund college. They will also discuss using PA Forward Loans to cover gaps in funding.
    Wednesday, March 1 – 12-12:30 PM